he Hong Kong Airport Authority has canceled all departing flights for the remainder of the day as thousands of protesters have flooded into the city’s airport, enraged once again over alleged police brutality.
Over the weekend, protesters staged a sit-in protest, occupying the airport for the entire weekend. However, their numbers dramatically increased on Monday following a bloody Sunday where police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and bean bags at protesters at close range.
It’s estimated that more than 5,000 protesters, wearing black and carrying placards, have gathered at the airport with more still arriving… even if they have to walk.
Train & buses are all full probably causing them to walk.
(online image) pic.twitter.com/K0RjtgiaZG
— LO Kin-hei 羅健熙 (@lokinhei) August 12, 2019
Extremely impressive turnout at Hong Kong airport demo against police violence – location is only spot police haven’t fired tear gas pic.twitter.com/fyvUFwAULn
— Erin Hale (@erinhale) August 12, 2019
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) August 12, 2019
On Monday afternoon, the city’s airport authority released a statement declaring that operations had been “seriously disrupted” by protesters and canceling all departing flights which had not already checked in. Those flights already heading to Hong Kong will be allowed to arrive.
The airport is one of the world’s busiest, handling more than 1,000 passenger and cargo flights a day. Last week, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam claimed that the anti-extradition protests, which are now into their ninth week, had done more damage to the city’s economy than any downtown before including the one caused by the SARS outbreak in 2003.
Lam also said that some of the protests “have no stake in society” and so did not mind destroying Hong Kong’s economy.
It remains to be seen how the situation at the airport will play out with police now reportedly shutting the place down in preparation for taking on the protesters. Police have not ruled out the possibility of using tear gas at the airport.
Anticipating a potentially violent crackdown, some nervous protesters have already started leaving the airport for their own safety.
— Michael Zhang 張雨軒 (@YuxuanMichael) August 12, 2019